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Guest blog: When will I ever learn?

jo-small.jpgIn her latest blog Jo ponders the delayed effects on multiple sclerosis (MS) after exertion and asks if she will ever learn...

So, I’ve written before about the delayed effects on MS after exertion, but the other thing is the effect of getting carried away and overdoing it on a ‘good day’. Those days when you feel a tiny bit better. A day to potter at home which you think is a rest.

Except it’s not a rest. It’s a constant to-do list. Everywhere you look is a reminder of something that needs doing. Washing waiting to go on, stuff to put away, bills to pay, tidying to do, pots to wash, emails to write. The list is literally endless.

So on a day when I’m feeling a bit better I think I’ll tackle some jobs (especially if the sun is shining…that seems to make me think I have superhuman abilities!) Usually tidying jobs where one leads to another. You know the type of thing, you’re putting something away and before you know it you’re rearranging a cupboard or clearing out a drawer or tackling a mini paper mountain that turns into an avalanche. And because I’m doing it at home I think it doesn’t use energy, but of course it does and the fatigue can still strike at any time. Usually when stuff is out everywhere and I don’t have the energy to finish and put it all away!

I seem to think that bending down to sort a cupboard won’t affect my legs, that time doing admin on the computer won’t strain my eyes and make me dizzy and that repeatedly reaching up to hang the washing on the line won’t affect my coordination. But it does.

Everytime! I forget and get caught up in the moment of feeling I have actually achieved something, until it’s too late and I almost can’t move from overwhelming fatigue or symptom flare up. I think this time will be different. This time the MS won’t notice. Shh…I’m just going to put the washing out, don’t tell the MS that I’ve already sorted out a kitchen cupboard and had a busy weekend…;)

It is so disappointing! I have a few moments or maybe even an hour where I feel pretty good. I get stuff done. Those things that have built up when I haven’t felt so good are being ticked off the list. A sense of accomplishment washes over me. Success! But it doesn’t last…all of a sudden a wave of fatigue hits me, symptoms flare and then it’s back to earth with a great big bump.

Therefore, note to self. Physical exertion is the same whether it is in the house, in the garden or at the gym. Will I ever learn? Probably not. Those moments of accomplishment are too enticing! But maybe I can try a little harder with pacing myself so the impact isn’t so bad. Unless the sun is shining, then all bets are off!


You can download our Choices leaflets on fatigue, and MS symptoms from the MS-UK website.

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